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Jeremiah's prophecy concerns some of his neighbouring nations. Yahweh would extend His sword against the enemies of His people. In this chapter He addresses the Philistines on the west of the land and describes the work of His Babylonian "servant" Nebuchadnezzar.*
1 The word of Yahweh that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.
Philistia was on the coastal plains or valley. On the right are the mountains of Hebron in the north. On the left, the sea bordered with low lying hills, there are the coastal very pleasant valleys, such as the Shephelah. *
2 Thus saith Yahweh; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.
3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands;
At the same time as Nebuchadnezzar took Tyre
4 Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth: for Yahweh will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.
The Philistines were Indo-Europeans from Caphtor (Crete; cp. Amos 9:7), the main wave of them settling in south-west Palestine, as "the land of Peleat," in the twelfth century BC.
5 Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?
"how long wilt thou cut thyself" is better rendered "will thy lamentations never cease?"
6 O thou sword of Yahweh, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still.
7 How can it be quiet, seeing Yahweh hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it.